Sunday, August 12, 2012

Yesterday's comment by Stephen Hayes reminded me of a Ziggy comic strip from many years ago (probably when i was in high school, now that i think about it).

Ziggy is standing in a mechanic's shop, with his car behind him, the hood up.  One mechanic is back there peering in, and another mechanic stands in the foreground with Ziggy.

The one near him says something like, "Well, of course you're going to have trouble with it if you drive it around all the time!"

The fact is, electronics and computers don't do well with being moved and slung around, or with heat.  How and why they keep adding more and more computer and electronic stuff to cars that is just there to break and cost money i do not understand.

Except for the air conditioning and radio, i would prefer to have fewer bells and whistles.

In fact, it was having an old fashioned hand crank window that once helped me rescue my own kids from a locked car.

When putting them in the car seat, my keys fell out of my pocket and i didn't notice.  #1 Son, just over 2 years old, and Bigger Girl, still a tiny baby, were safely in the back, so i pushed the locks down on each, closed the doors, and realized, when i reached for them, that the keys were safely on the back seat with the kids.  Since i habitually manually locked each door when i closed it, just to be safe, the kids were trapped.

#1 Son had begun, just about a month before, a habit of kicking at the manual handle for the window, which would open it.  Not much, but with each kick it would open further.  When i kept hearing more road noise, and finding that window always just a bit open, i started watching him, and sure enough, by kicking he could reach the handle and get the window open.

Because i hated the road noise, i had tried to discourage him from doing it by giving him toys and talking to him and such, but try to stop a just over 2-year-old from doing something he wants when he is in the back and you are in front and driving.  As i went back over to his side of the car, he looked at me through the window with a mischievous grins and started kicking the handle.

Ah, i thought, i don't have to call someone!  With my encouragement, he kicked at the handle over and over until the window was open enough for me to get my arm through and grab the lock.  Success!

Meanwhile, every set of automatic locks i've ever had have quit working, or, as in the case of this van, acted nuts by randomly locking and unlocking, as the sensor decides one door isn't closed (even though it is).  We used to have a Nissan which would flash the seat belt lock and ding like crazy, in the middle of a drive when your belt was safely on.  Nothing they could do, they couldn't find the problem because it was random and it had to be doing it at the time it was in the shop or there was no way to find it.

No wonder my mother gave us that one and had my dad get her a new one.

Give me four wheels that all go in the same direction at the same time, a steering wheel that isn't an arm wrestling match in the making, solid brakes, A/C, radio, and even a stick shift.  Keep the rest of the improvements that just cost me to fix, please.

All that electrical stuff and computer stuff just gets in the way of a good trip across town.

Today is:

Aloha Day -- unofficial celebration of the annexation of Hawai'i by the US

Anniversary of Snick-Snacker's Left Foot -- Fairy Calendar

Awa Odori Festival -- Tokushima, Japan (through the 15th; one of Japan's largest dance festivals, Awa-dance is said to be a "fool's dance", and the saying is "It's a fool who dances and a fool who watches, so if both are fools, you may as well dance!")

Don't Wait, Celebrate! Week -- 2nd full week of August each year; because spontaneous and frequent celebrations are good for you

Festival for Hercules Invictus -- Ancient Roman Calendar (through tomorrow; based on an even older Greek celebration of Heracles at the same time of year)

Festival for Venus Vitrix -- Ancient Roman Calendar (Victorius Venus)

Grouse Day/Glorious Twelfth -- England; Scotland (opening of grouse hunting season; because the 12th is a Sunday in 2012, it will actually be celebrated tomorrow)

Her Majesty the Queen's Birthday and National Mother's Day -- Thailand

International Youth Day -- UN

Julienne Fries Day

Lychnapsia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (celebration of the Birthday of Isis, instituted after the conquest of Egypt)

Melon Day -- Turkmenistan (the country that really loves its muskmellons)

Middle Children's Day -- on some sites, listed as Aug. 14; either way, Middle Children deserve a special day!

National Toasted Almond Bar Day

Osirian Mysteries; Feast of the Lights of Isis -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate, but this is the date the Romans gave it, so who am i to quibble?)

Palio Del Golfo -- La Speza, Italy (rowing contest)

PC Day -- no, not politically correct, personal computer; IBM introduced theirs this day in 1981

Put Peanuts in Your Coca Cola Day -- and no, i can't figure this one out, but they say don't shake it once you do it; if anyone else wants to experiment with why, let me know the results

Rushbearing -- Forest Chapel, Cheshire, England (ancient tradtion of bringing new rushes, plaited in traditional weaves, to carpet the church and keep it warm)

Solar Alignment with Teotihuacan, City of the Gods -- ancient when the Aztecs found its ruins, this city's ritual cave aligns with the setting sun today and April 29, also the rising and setting dates of the Pleiades

St. Gracilian's Day (Patron of Bassano Romano, Italy)

St. Murtagh's Day (Patron of Killaria, Ireland)

Vinyl Record Day -- celebrating the tremendous cultural influence of records, on the anniversary of the day in 1877 that Edison invented the phonograph

Zaraday a/k/a Zarathud's Day -- Discordianism

Birthdays Today:

Pete Sampras, 1971
Skip Caray, 1939
George Hamilton, 1939
William Goldman, 1931
Alvis Edgar “Buck” Owens, 1929
John Derek, 1926
Michael Kidd, 1915
Jane Wyatt, 1912
Cantinflas, 1911
Joe Besser, 1907
Alfred Lunt, 1892
Cecil B. DeMille, 1881
Christopher "Christy" Mathewson, 1880
Edith Hamilton, 1867
Katharine Lee Bates, 1859
"Diamond Jim" Brady, 1856
Robert Mills, 1781
Thomas Beckwith, 1753

Today in History:

The last ruler of the Egyptian Ptolemaic Dynasty, Cleopatra VII Philopater, allegedly commits suicide by asp bite, BC30
A conjunction of Venus and Jupiter occurs which may have been what the Bible calls the Star of Bethlehem, 3
Crusaders win the Battle of Ascalon, 1099
Juan Ponce de Leon arrives in Puerto Rico, 1508
Praying Indian John Alderman shoots and kills Metacomet, the Wampanoag war chief, ending King Philip's War, 1676
Isaac Singer is granted a patent for his sewing machine, the first one to be practical for home use, 1851
Asaph Hall discovers Deimos, 1877
The last quagga, a subspecies of zebra once plentiful in South Africa, dies at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam, 1883
Hawai'i is annexed by the US, 1898
William Somerset Maugham published "Of Human Bondage", 1915
Alleged date of the first Philadelphia Experiment test on United States Navy ship USS Eldridge, 1943
The Soviet Union detonates its first thermonuclear weapon, 1953
Echo I, the first communications satellite, is launched, 1960
South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games because of its racist policies, 1964
The first free flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise, 1977
The IBM Personal Computer is released, 1981
Canada, Mexico, and the United States announce completion of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 1992
The Oscar class submarine K-141 Kursk of the Russian Navy explodes and sinks in the Barents Sea during a military exercise, 2000


  1. Maybe we should all buy cars from a country like Romania where the technology is so simple that if anything breaks it can be fixed with spit and tape.

  2. Stephen, that's about my speed.